24 Jan 2013

Membership to decide Maori Party future

10:21 pm on 24 January 2013

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party membership will decide how it should be led into the future.

The party's national council met until late on Wednesday night to discuss a bid by the Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, for the male co-leadership position currently held by Pita Sharples.

Afterwards, it was announced another meeting would be held in a few months to talk about the matter further.

At Ratana Pa on Thursday, Mr Flavell and President Pem Bird refused to comment further, saying everything that needed to be said had been.

Mrs Turia said the party will go through a process to sort the matter out, but could not give a firm time frame as to when and how that might take place.

Harawira angles for Maori leadership role

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he could comfortably lead a united Maori political movement and would do it well.

Mr Harawira told Morning Report that Maori strongly want to have a united political movement and he would happily lead such a movement.

But he said his party opposes working with the National Party.

Mr Harawira quit the Maori Party in 2011 after disciplinary proceedings were brought against him. he now leads the Mana Party.

He said Maori strongly want to have a united political movement and he would be able to help.

Mr Bird said on Wednesday that Dr Sharples and Tariana Turia will remain in their roles for now, but another special meeting will be convened in the next few months.

That meeting will discuss the constitution further and consider how leadership changes should take place now and in the future.

A Radio New Zealand political reporter said the party has never had to deal with a leadership challenge before, and its constitution gives no guidance on the subject.

Cabinet position

The Prime Minister says he'll be guided by whoever leads the Maori Party as to who holds its ministerial positions.

Dr Sharples is Minister of Maori Affairs and Associate Minister of Education and Corrections.

Dr Sharples says that regardless of the outcome of the challenge against him, he doesn't want to give up his ministerial portfolios.

He says he's working on some good projects, which he'd like to finish.